I remember when I first heard about blogging--the concept of everyone being able to publish was quite astounding.
For years, I had worked hard at honing the craft of writing and figuring out how to get my work published. Now, there was a way to circumvent all of that hard work! Could it be too good to be true? Is it possible, for example, for doctors with great ideas to reach people and share these ideas through a blog?
The short answer is "yes!" The longer answer is...it depends on what you are writing about and where you are posting it. Many blogs go "virtually" unread. There are really two key things to consider: 1) Matching your blog's message needs to what the viewers on that site want to read about; and, 2) Writing for a site (whether it's your own site or another site) that has readers.
With regard to the first point, matching your message to the site, it's important to know what kind of information the readers care about. Because a lot of my work is focused on cancer rehabilitation, I like to write for blogs such as CURE Today and LiveStrong. On those sites, I can share the need to implement cancer rehabilitation into the care continuum. I am able to let doctors and survivors know about the fact that the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer now requires cancer rehabilitation for the 1400+ hospitals that it accredits in the U.S. I can explain about my work with the STAR (Survivorship Training and Rehabilitation) certifications that provide a "turn key" solution for hospitals and cancer centers to develop best practices models of survivorship care that is reimbursable and therefore a sustainable business model. At these sites, readers are intensely interested in cancer survivorship issues--the focus of my work (www.OncRehab.com).
As for the second point, insuring that there are readers, keep in mind that it is often much more rewarding to write for a smaller, focused audience than a very large, general one. For example, I found it much easier to reach healthcare professionals about my work in cancer rehab by writing for CURE Today (http://www.curetoday.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/blog.showIndex/guest/2010/12/28/Getting-Well)and LiveStrong ( http://www.livestrong.com/blog/blog/how-julie-survived-cancer-then-survived-treatment/) than by writing for Gather.com and AOL. Bigger audiences don't necessarily mean that your message gets to the "right" people.
I have blogged a lot, and it's always interesting to read what people have to say. I even sometimes use readers' comments in magazine articles that I write--to highlight a point and include someone else's "voice" in what I'm writing. For example, I just wrote a magazine article for nurses about the need for cancer rehabilitation. I included this comment from a blog post that I wrote:
KUDOS!!!!! Rehab for cancer survivors. I'm a registered nurse and promoted rehab for my husband after each and every bout with cancer. Our physical therapist was excellent. He not only help increase my husband's endurance and strength but bolstered his emotional spirit. As team players my husband and I pursued the quest for REHAB. His main oncologist never broached the topic. Only one physician, a surgeon, recommended a course of physical therapy. I cannot say enough about the importance of REHAB for cancer survivors.
- Posted by Joyce Hutchinson 5/11/11 12:22 PM
Blogging, like all published writing, needs to be carefully crafted for the readership. Targeting your message to the audience is a powerful way to get it to the right people.